It is quite a while since I’ve been completely enthralled by new photographic opportunities. And so after my recent fabulous experience in Cuba, I readily agreed to host a photography workshop there during one of The Scuba Place’s excursions, from 23 January to 6 February 2014. I regularly shoot with both SLR and compact cameras (the embedded images are a mixture of both), so I can provide just about any kind of support that people need, from full-on instruction for beginners with compact cameras through to occasional tips for experienced SLR users (I am an accredited INON UK underwater camera instructor).
The diving in Cuba is diverse, but this trip will focus on some real excitement that beckons in the Jardines de la Reina, a marine reserve off the south east coast. But it is also right to dwell a while in the capital and not rush headlong into the diving. Havana is awash with iconic images and a photography-rich environment. 1950-vintage classic American cars by the street load. And an amazing colonial architecture that harbours cottage industry rum and tobacco houses amidst the rhythmic pulse of salsa music floating from vibrant bars. Soak it up!
A fast transfer boat from Jucaro will get us aboard the floating hotel/barge live-aboard la Tortuga in the Gardens of the Queen. The efficient and affable crew will then get you to the dive sites daily using fast skiffs. Day-end post-diving rum cocktails will put you in a pleasant frame of mind for highly-sociable and (for the photographers) educational evenings.
For those who love shark diving, or for people just yearning to see these magnificent creatures up close for the first time, the over-used adjective is the right one. It’s awesome. Diving with reef and silky sharks in big numbers is genuinely awe-inspiring. Although such activity inevitably has a frisson of excitement, which sustains a healthy respect for these apex predators, for the greatest part you will just see these sharks swimming in their graceful, carefully-ordered sinuous ballet, giving divers a respectful distance, whilst still providing photo opportunities a-plenty.
With frequent sightings of goliath groupers and some delightful trips to the fringing mangroves and islands to see juvenile saltwater crocodiles, hermit crabs, iguanas and a cute little rodent called the Jutia, for me the experience is as good as diving gets. For more information or to make a reservation call or email the Scuba Place sales director John Spencer-Ades (020 7644 8252, firstname.lastname@example.org).